Editor, Times-Union:

State Rep. Curt Nisly’s negative response to Governor Holcomb’s closure of bars and restaurants in Indiana is dangerous to the public and shows profound ignorance. Here is why.

We are all in the middle of a frightening pandemic that if not addressed could kill millions, yes millions, of Americans.  Any close interaction between people has the possibility of spreading the virus. No one has immunity, because the virus is brand new to people. As yet, there is no known effective treatment and no way to prevent getting the virus except to not be exposed to someone who is infected. Infected people will have the virus in them and infect others for two weeks before they show symptoms of cough or fever.

So while Nisly and his family and yours are eating out because, “breaking of bread with friends and family in public places is the common good,” Mr. Nisly, his friends and family, all the other patrons, wait staff, bus staff, cooks and dishwashers will be exchanging virus particles as they eat, work and talk in close proximity. If some of the virus is COVID-19, a week or two later, some of those people will get sick. If any who are sick have COPD, diabetes, heart disease, are on chemo or over 60, they can get so sick that they will die without being connected to a breathing machine (ventilator). No ventilator means death. And guess what, no matter what optimistic statements are made in Washington, there are not enough ventilators to treat the expected numbers of cases. Doctors fervently hope that the severely ill will be spread out over time instead of coming to the hospital all at once as has happened in Italy.

The primary goal of closing public places and events is to slow down the spread so that the number of people who will need intensive care including ventilators, won’t spike all at once, outstripping our hospitals’ limited capacity. Prevent social contact, prevent rapid spread of infection and prevent spikes of severe illness: this is sound and proven science intended to save your life, your parent’s and children’s lives and the lives of Mr. Nisly and his family. If his family goes to restaurants and then interacts with you, they are endangering not just themselves but you and everyone you and they interact with.

Legal scholars can decide if the governor’s action was constitutional, but we should all agree that it is good public health science and good public policy. Keep the number of people you interact with small.  And avoid Mr. Nisly, his family, and other scientifically ignorant people like the plague.

Jennifer Seiffert

Warsaw, via email